Improvement of Soybean; A Way Forward Transition from Genetic Engineering to New Plant Breeding Technologies.

Saleem Ur Rahman, Evan McCoy, Ghulam Raza, Zahir Ali, Shahid Mansoor, Imran Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Soybean is considered one of the important crops among legumes. Due to high nutritional contents in seed (proteins, sugars, oil, fatty acids, and amino acids), soybean is used globally for food, feed, and fuel. The primary consumption of soybean is vegetable oil and feed for chickens and livestock. Apart from this, soybean benefits soil fertility by fixing atmospheric nitrogen through root nodular bacteria. While conventional breeding is practiced for soybean improvement, with the advent of new biotechnological methods scientists have also engineered soybean to improve different traits (herbicide, insect, and disease resistance) to fulfill consumer requirements and to meet the global food deficiency. Genetic engineering (GE) techniques such as transgenesis and gene silencing help to minimize the risks and increase the adaptability of soybean. Recently, new plant breeding technologies (NPBTs) emerged such as zinc-finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR/Cas9), which paved the way for enhanced genetic modification of soybean. These NPBTs have the potential to improve soybean via gene functional characterization precision genome engineering for trait improvement. Importantly, these NPBTs address the ethical and public acceptance issues related to genetic modifications and transgenesis in soybean. In the present review, we summarized the improvement of soybean through GE and NPBTs. The valuable traits that have been improved through GE for different constraints have been discussed. Moreover, the traits that have been improved through NPBTs and potential targets for soybean improvements via NPBTs and solutions for ethical and public acceptance are also presented.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular Biotechnology
StatePublished - Feb 4 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-02-07
Acknowledgements: The work presented received no funding.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biotechnology


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